This Is Going To Hurt Us Both (Part Three)
If you missed the previous sections of this article begin here
I cannot stop at prayer though. Too many people pray about something then leave everything in God’s hands. There are times to do that. If you are standing at the Red Sea and Pharaoh is behind you there is nothing you can do but stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. There are other times where we need to pray then take action, what many people call putting some feet on our prayers.
Some years ago I heard a somewhat humorous story that illustrates this point.
There was an old man who lived in an area where there was a good deal of flooding and it looked like it might reach his house. So he prayed and asked the Lord to help. The water forced him to the upstairs of his house and the sheriff came by in a boat and told him to get in so they could get him to safety. “God will save me,” the old man said. He prayed again. Finally the man was forced onto his roof, the water swirling around his feet. The sheriff came by again. This time he was in a helicopter. He told the man in no uncertain times unless he climbed up into the helicopter he was going to do. “God will save me,” the old man said one last time before he was swept into the flood waters and died.
As the man entered heaven he admitted to God that he did not understand how he, God that is, could let him die in a flood like that. God answered, “I sent the boat and the helicopter didn’t I? It’s not my fault you wouldn’t get in.”
Sometimes we have a tendency to do the same things after we pray. God is a God of miracles. There is no doubt about that. But he is also a God who has given us the Bible as a guide to our behavior. When we look at our lives and wonder how we ended up in the trouble we are in we need to ask if we followed God’s instructions. It’s the next best thing to useless to ask God to do something we should be doing for ourselves. How we raise our children is no exception.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 KJV
As a minister I have heard a lot of older couples ask prayer for their children. In some cases it is heartbreaking because you see parents who seem honestly to have done their best to train up a child. In other cases you want to look at the parent and ask why they are surprised their child turned out the way he or she did. After all that was how you trained him or her to be. Honestly what you want to say is you broke him you fix him.
I do not pretend to be able explain completely what God is telling us in this verse. As I have said I have seen good parents turn out rotten kids. I have also seen rotten parents turn out good kids. The verse does not seem to indicate it is impossible for a child brought up to love and serve the Lord to turn from the paths of righteous living. It only indicates that he is more likely to live a good Christian life his if parents give him a good foundation of Biblical teaching.
Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
1 Peter 5:3 KJV
God was speaking expressly to the Elder’s of the church in this verse. He was telling the elders that preaching at the church was not enough. They needed to be living sermons on the righteous way of the Lord. By extension if they were to provide an example the rest of the church was supposed to follow it. If the elders were to teach by example then parents should teach by example too.
Teaching by example is scary. I work a lot with young Christians. Sometimes young Christians ask a lot of questions. I never mind discussing any scripture they may have a question about or anything they may be facing in their lives. I am glad to answer these questions.
But there is a certain set of questions I dread. Those are the questions that bring up my past. None of us are perfect. This rule applies to even ministers. All of us have done things we are ashamed of. Well at least we should be ashamed of. When young people ask me about my mistakes I get nervous because I want to be an example. In a lot of ways I can be but there are certain things in my past that I want to leave there. I do not want my bad example to become their excuse to make the same mistakes I have made.
I do not have a time machine to go back and undo my mistakes. Neither do you. We cannot change the past but we can change the now and the future. I want to live daily now before my son so that I can be proud if he follows in my footsteps. In fact, a large part of training means I leave some good footsteps for him to follow.
As for my mistakes that I have made, am making and will make all I can do is ask the Lord to help. Sometimes it takes time to get our past behind us but if we work diligently at it, it can be done.
Paul, who started life as Saul, had the same problem with his past. He had been a man who hated Jesus and the church and took every opportunity to hurt the church anyway he could. After he was saved people did not immediately accept him. He had to prove himself and he did by working as hard for Jesus as he had worked against him. Eventually people began to accept him.
If you have a life like Paul’s that you are trying to live down do not give up. Keep doing the right thing. Right now people may be pointing out all your failures and using it against you. Eventually you may be able to change their attitude with consistent good living. Eventually they may give God glory for getting you out of your old sinful behavior patterns.
Whether other people accept your change or not we still have an obligation to train our children. Train them by example.
Posted on October 28, 2011, in This Is Going To Hurt Us Both and tagged Children, Christian, Christianity, Discipline, Faith, Family, God, Love, Parenting, The Book of Elijah. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.